Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.
It rained during the Twins' annual autograph party today, which was held outside Target Field. The Weather Channel's forecast looks favorable, however, for tonight's game between the Twins and Braves.
Nick Blackburn has never faced Atlanta. He's had two bad starts in a row, lasting just 6 1/3 innings combined in losses at Seattle and Oakland. Opponents are batting .338 against the righthander.
Derek Lowe is 1-4 with a 6.43 career ERA against the Twins, but most of that is ancient history. He hasn't faced them since 2006.
The Braves had planned to recall OF Jordan Schafer from the minors yesterday, but needed an infielder after INF Omar Infante fouled a ball off his foot. So INF Brandon Hicks has been promoted from Class AAA Gwinnett.
Update: Clay Condrey had another pain-free bullpen session and will fly to Fort Myers, Fla., on Sunday to face some hitters in extended spring training. If all goes well there on Monday and Wednesday, he could begin a rehab stint with one of the minor-league affiliates.
Orlando Hudson was going to take swings in the batting cage, testing his injured left wrist.
A handful of Twins were watching the World Cup, though I remember the passion being far greater in 2006, when Johan Santana and Carlos Silva were around. La Velle's our soccer guru, but a draw against England seems like a good start to me.
Update: As of 5 p.m., it's raining hard. And the forecast is getting worse. There could be a rain delay, at least at the start
Update: The tarp is coming off. I believe it takes Larry DiVito's crew about 30-35 minutes to get the field ready, so this could start on time, after all.
Update: Chipper Jones has been scratched from the starting lineup. Brooks Conrad takes his place at third base, and Jason Heyward slides down to the No. 3 spot.
Update: The first pitch was thrown at 6:11 under a light rain.
1. Martin Prado, 2B
Jason Heyward, RF Brooks Conrad, 3B
Chipper Jones, 3B Jason Heyward, RF
4. Brian McCann, C
5. Troy Glaus, DH
6. Eric Hinske, 1B
7. Yunel Escobar, SS
8. Melky Cabrera, LF
9. Gregor Blanco, CF
Starting pitcher: RH Derek Lowe (8-5, 5.04 ERA)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Trevor Plouffe, SS
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Michael Cuddyer, RF
6. Jason Kubel, DH
7. Delmon Young, LF
8. Brendan Harris, 3B
9. Nick Punto, 2B
Starting pitcher: RH Nick Blackburn (6-3, 5.21 ERA)
Target Field. First pitch: 6:10 p.m. TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network
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